Schools find solution to cell phone distraction in classrooms

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Schools find solution to cell phone distraction in classrooms
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WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — For many of us, our devices can be a huge distraction.

And for students who are expected to focus on classroom learning – well, the appeal is often overwhelming, like at T-Squared Honors Academy in Warrensville Heights.

The return of the COVID-19 pandemic last year proved challenging, forcing school leaders to dig deep and analyze their discipline’s data.

“It was really high and we had to come up with some type of solutions. We said, let’s look at the causes – what is causing these problems and what are the things that we can actually change,” explained Jason Petz, dean of students .

It turns out that the bulk of the problems – 44% to be exact – were directly or indirectly related to cellphones.

Students were scrolling through social media, playing games and being late to class because they were making TikToks in the hallways.

So the solution they came up with is to use pouches called Yondr to enclose students’ cell phones from the time they enter school until they are discharged at the end of the day.

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You may have seen Yondr sleeves used in concerts and comedy shows for years now.

The teachers loved the covers, and it’s no surprise there was pushback from the students there, at first.

“I come, I put my phone in the pocket every day and I understand how it helps because it helped the whole school. Less altercations, less distractions,” said Shahid Wheeler, senior at T-Squared .

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Sophomore Jaydah Anderson agreed, adding, “I see it helping me, my grades are better, it allows me to do more work.”

Students can personalize their pouches and keep them with them at all times.

T-Squared was initially concerned about declining enrollment with the new policy since it is a charter school, but actually found that more parents were sending their children because of this one.

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bridgette pacholka

“They work in a collaborative group, whereas last year maybe one kid would do the work and the others would play on their phones,” Petz said.

At Mary Church Terrell, a K-8 public school in Cleveland, this is the second year with Yondr pouches.

“It took a layer of distraction and stress away from some kids, so it’s great to see,” said principal Angie Boie.

Boie said the transition to cover art was surprisingly smooth for students, and most importantly, it was refreshing to see kids being kids again — at lunch, in the hallways, at recess.

“Interact, have fun, talk,” she said. “At recess, they play football, basketball and are just kids.”

Yondr is used in 25 schools across Ohio – six of those in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and 1,200 schools nationwide.

In a survey of 900 schools nationwide, 74% reported improved student behavior, with a 65% improvement in academic performance.

In the event of an emergency, educators we spoke with said teachers have easily accessible telephones in their classrooms and students can go to reception to contact their parents when needed.

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